Our long awaited trip to Spiti and Lahaul Valley started from Shimla. This is a beautiful British station in the foothills of the Himalayas. Cute, cheerful houses are scattered randomly like confetti over the face of the mountains.
The next morning I got a great surprise – a large group of langurs came to ask for the treats.
And they didn’t want to leave even after all food was fairly distributed. This guy was particularly insistent. He only left once we finished packing and were ready to move. Maybe he fell in love with me?
The only way to get from place to place is by winding roads. They twist and turn in all possible directions.
I am not into spiritual practices and other soul-healing exercises, but at this moment I just had an urge to stop and listen to my heart.
This is not how new cars are transported in Australia, but that’s how they deliver them to the car yards in India.
This restaurant perched on the edge of the mountain looks great against Himalayas as a background. It also serves an excellent food.
This photogenic spot is on the way to Spiti Valley. A bit scary, but very beautiful.
Lacey bridges could be seen from time to time. I found it strange that the ridges were not covered with Buddhist flags from top to bottom, considering that Buddism is the main religion in that area.
This photo shows how dangerous and narrow the roads are in the Himalayas.
One of many hairpin turns.
And fantastic blue skies.
This golden peak was at its best in the evening during sunset. This photo was taken from my room.
Locals obviously didn’t think too much when naming of their village. I wouldn’t like to live in Pooh.
This old historical stupa was lovingly protected by locals in Nako. Despite bad weather and strong winds, I decided to climb there just to spend a few minutes with this “oldie-goldie”.
And this beautiful famous green lake in Nako. The village is tiny with only a few guest houses, and we decided to move further despite worsening weather. It was a big mistake as we had rocks falling on top of the car , and there were no shelter and no place to turn around.
For those who suddenly had an urge to pray while driving there were a few small temples along the highway.
And some people prefer to get some shade from the sun under the huge boulders. I didn’t have the guts.
Being in different parts of Himalayas numerous times, I still can’t understand what is the point of sweeping the highway in remote locations. We were about 70 km from the Tabo when we met those women.
Raging water from glaciers. At least it wasn’t rushing over the road.
When we reached Tabo monastery, it was getting late, but I quickly ran there to admire the views. I came back there three more times, because this old 11th century monastery was drawing me as a magnet.
Sunrise over the new stupa in the Tabo monastery. I can’t sleep in the mountains because I don’t want to miss beautiful sunrises.
This bell was at the monastery from the very beginning, more than thousand years ago.
Inside the monastery are praying rooms. There are original paintings.
Some paintings totally disintegrated with time, and the monks refreshed them as much as they could. It is very clear that no professional artists were invited.
This is the birds-eye-view of the Tabo monastery and the surrounding village.
For those pilgrims who desire total isolation to recollect their thoughts and beliefs, there are small caves overlooking Tabo.
The highest petrol station in the world is in Kaza, Himachal. We had to buy petrol there and fill a spare canister as the next station was about 250 km away.
One of the most famous monasteries – Key Monastery.
At this altitude my friend MA and I were really struggling. Any higher than 3500 m and I need an oxygen cylinder. But it was worth every moment of the struggle.
From the far away this rock formation looks like an old castle.
I love those mountain goats, they look very different to other breeds. We met quite a few large herds with a single shepherd, crossing the roads.
We have done a full circle starting from Shimla and finishing in Manali. This sign is welcoming tourists to Spiti and Lahaul valley, but for us it was a farewell.
River banks are green and covered with lush grass and tiny flowers. Wild horses come here to feed.
The roads are very difficult and unforgiving, if people don’t take them seriously. Those guys were stuck for more than an hour and finally got out with the help of other travellers, who became quite impatient, waiting in their cars.
The terrain looks very rough, especially at bad weather. Mighty Himalayas at their best!
Closer to Rohtang Pass, shy vegetation starts to appear. And for us it meant that our great trip to Spiti Valley was over.
I found this trip much more challenging than Ladakh. While the mountains were lower, the roads were way tougher than in Ladakh and there was a lot less people. In case any help was needed, it would be much harder to get, and that includes medical emergencies.
But despite all the difficulties, I would go back any time. Just give me a call!